Lexd's Blog

I write about what I want!

Update: Mid-wedding, post-move, forever workout May 4, 2013

Filed under: food,life — lexd @ 4:54 am

There is just an incredible amount going on. Before I get into that, I’d like to just point out how much more quickly time moves now as opposed to how it moved when I was a kid. I’ve read a bunch of articles on how as you get older, each year is a smaller fraction of your life, so it seems to move more quickly … I’m kind of worried about how fast things will move when I get even older.

The long and short is, I’m pretty much enjoying life right now. We moved (YAY) and while I know both Fiance and I are missing the quick 10-minute bus ride to downtown Seattle (Pike Place, Westlake, Pacific Place, the stadiums, etc.) there’s something that is super appealing about suburbia right now. While we live damn near on the freeway, we’re protected from road noise, our patio faces an incredible greenbelt (so many bluejays alighted on our patio today!), and we always have parking. We’re 5 minutes away from Woodinville wine country, and about 10 minutes away from great breweries and a Wal-Mart. Also, in a new home with more space that I actually like, I’m more invested in keeping it clean. It feels livable, it feels more like home instead of a place where our stuff is.

The wedding is finally coming along. Booking vendors, getting things established. And boy, it is exhausting. We spent last weekend with my parents at the venue/doing vendor meetings and it actually took me two days to catch up on sleep. The honeymoon is booked (Aruba!), the menu’s decided, the dress is bought, the florist is booked and the photographer and DJ are in the process. Once we have us a cake and an officiant, we’re good to go! (Minus the 1,000,000 little decisions we still have to make …)

Work is good/work is stressful. PR is a serious balance. When it’s good, when I’m doing well and feeling good, with time to get all the stuff done I need to — MAN is it good. I love this job. I’m getting to work with both exec VPs and senior VPs directly on projects (unheard of for an AAE), as well as mentor another individual at our agency, and manage our peer group in addition to my normal campaign work. I feel needed. I feel valuable. I feel like I’m effective at what I do. The dark side: When things get stressful and I don’t have time to do anything but address/stave off crises … that’s a bad time. I’m quickly discovering this is often the case with executive comms programs: Things may seem okay for a few days, but go to hell in a handbasket very quickly.

At the risk of sounding like some Susan Powter-esque mouthpiece, I love working out. I love working out. I know when I’m grouchy, it’s probably because I haven’t been to the gym. The wedding is an easy excuse.

I suppose I should be more specific. I love lifting weights. I detest cardio, I get too bored too quickly. Same goes for yoga. In order to create a well-balanced workout routine, I’ve restarted the couch-to-5k program and even downloaded the app … literally I just do what the app says I need to do on the treadmill, while listening to music. It’s awesome. And, I downloaded some 20- and 30-min sessions off of YogaDownload.com and even did one today. I suppose my viewpoint on it is, if I’m going to do the fun stuff (lift super freaking heavy, 5-6 reps), I have to make sure I have the cardio and yoga in place to balance everything out. PS: Deadlifts. I’m finally doing them AND IT IS AWESOME. Talk about empowerment at the gym! SWOLE SISTER STATUS

7nkt95

Same for diet. I’ve shifted to about 1,600 cals a day (though I don’t always calculate) … lots of fruit, veggies, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs and hummus for the first two meals, and a healthy/normal meal for dinner (Fiance needs more cals).

Anyway, enough rambling, just thought it was overdue.

Currently loving: This recipe, though I only use about 1-1.5 T peanut butter and I omit the honey; this Macklemore song, video filmed all over western Washington! This song is straight sick; dresses (sheath, maxi, wrap, jersey … I have a “dress lust” list about a mile long from various retailers)

 

 

Getting back on the rails March 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lexd @ 6:15 pm

There is so much going on right now that I almost can’t process it, and every day I find myself desperately searching for the light at the end of the tunnel, both at work and at home. Usually I find one half of my life is less stressful than the other, and I take that opportunity to slow down a bit and drink a glass of wine. Or have a beer. (Thank goodness these things are acceptable at work.) “Me time” comes in the form of gym visits, Sunday night TV or The Mindy Project, or reading on the bus.

Unfortunately all of these things have gone to hell, between dress shopping, finding vendors, packing to move, and trying to figure out a new schedule for everyone with fiance having started his new job (YAY!). My workload at work is peaking right now (at least I certainly hope so), hence being online on a Sunday. It’ll calm down by EOD Wed (again, I hope so) but it’s just one of those times in public relations where everything lands at once for everyone. On the up side, I’m getting great visibility with some of our bosses on both the agency and client side. Executing the next 48 hours is going to be a hell of a ride. I plan to be in bed at about 9:30 tonight.

Now that the bitch session is over, I do want to emphasize that all of these things are in fact steps toward huge positives in my life, and things I’ve been working toward for a while:

  • Dress shopping: Haha, just getting it done. It’s a cliche, but there was one dress, that when the salesperson put a veil on me while I was wearing it, I cried (not “one solitary tear” cry but like “this girl is crying, get her a handful of tissue” cry). The catch is, it’s $250 above my top-line budget, and $450 above my ideal budget, not including alterations. The good news is, there’s an alternate with a different neckline. Now that I’ve found pictures, I’m crying again. This is why I haven’t gone back to seal the deal. EMOTIONAL INSTABILITY FTW
  • Wedding planning: It’s just a matter of getting everyone’s calendars booked at the moment, including a meeting on-site with the venue in Oregon. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but between moving and fiance now working most Saturdays, working out the details here has been challenging. I think we landed on a date yesterday, though, and I can stop trying to micromanage this. We also outsourced engagement dinner planning to my awesome future mother-in-law, so crossing that off my list.
  • Moving: Seriously, I am so excited to get out of this miniature apartment in the city and get somewhere that is bigger, more open, carpeted, has two bedrooms AND two bathrooms (!!!), a dishwasher, an in-unit regular size washer/dryer and parking. I … just … I can’t even put it into words. This whole packing thing still sucks though. I was hoping it had changed, but no dice.
  • Workload: I was kind of hoping for a promotion this year — looks like that’s still the goal for next year. (This isn’t to say my company doesn’t take good care of me or anything along those lines, please don’t read it that way because it is NOT TRUE.) I’m working to broaden my exposure across the team (esp. with Director/Manager/VP titles) and own more announcements, events and projects. Still focusing on learning and growing, and I just take this stress as a growing pain right now 🙂

The final issue: Diet/exercise. I’ve lapsed back into stress-eating and that end-of-day glass of wine (which is fine, just not every day of the week). That bonus cushion I earned being sick is gone. I’m usually so beat at the end of the day that I can’t even fathom the idea of going back to the gym, especially since my triumphant return post-sickness was a brutal workout. I lost weight, but I also lost SERIOUS gains. What used to be my warm-up weight for dumbbell bench presses was almost too much to get through as the main event. And don’t even get me started on my cardio endurance.

Anyway, I made these cute little breakfast quiche things for fiance and I to take through the week (still have to figure out calories, but 1 or 2 plus a greek yogurt or banana with peanut butter ought to do the trick). I’m also going back to pre-making lunch for the week, as going out every day isn’t doing great things for my wallet or my waistline. And, made an appointment with sister to do my first barre class tomorrow after work! (Bonus: This will make sure I get my ass out out the door on time.) Also looking forward to later in the month: Fiance bought me BioShock Infinite (and flowers and chocolate and my favorite wine!!!) the other night, the new SimCity comes out next week and Game of Thrones starts 3/31. Always looking forward 🙂

Phew. Back to work 🙂

 

Anxiety February 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lexd @ 5:45 pm

Sky-high right now for some reason. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I lost four working days last week in a hugely busy and scattered time, thanks to the flu or the norovirus or whatever demon virus it was that set up shop in my body for the week. I haven’t been that sick since college.

And, while my coworkers stepped up to cover my butt, told me to stay offline, and were generally awesome, I can’t shake this feeling of anxiety and insecurity now that I’m back at my desk. Yesterday I felt like crying just because I was unprepared to try to jump back in and manage everything I had rolling. I just lost the rhythm and I just don’t feel as sharp as I did before getting sick … I guess it’s all contributing to the anxious/insecure emotions roiling around.

I’m not kidding … both Sunday night and this morning I absolutely dreaded coming to work. This is so uncharacteristic of my experience lately (and my true feeling toward my job!) that it took me by surprise and really set me off-kilter. Once I get here and get plugging away on things, talk to my coworkers, get coffee (no joke) it’s not bad, but for some reason the anticipation is wrought with negative energy. I actively talk myself through my day, my priorities, and reinforce that I’m good at my job, I’m going to make progress and that I’m not a failure or anything, but it’s a very difficult battle to fight for some reason.

Part of me knows it’s because I’m behind on a project that I’m worried I’ll disappoint with. Dissatisfaction with my progress/status on that project is bleeding into everything else, and maybe it’s amplified because I’m worried about having lost days? Trying to pinpoint the issue here so I can remedy it.

 

New favorite snack! February 2, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lexd @ 12:16 am

I’ve been eating an INSANE amount of Greek yogurt lately. Luckily, there’s a ton of ways you can dress up the plain stuff:

  • Trader Joe’s honey sesame almonds
  • oats
  • fresh, frozen or dried fruit
  • cereal — I love Kashi Go Lean Crunch, it doesn’t get soggy
  • granola
  • jam or jelly
  • Flax and/or chia seeds
  • honey

And so on. My new favorite way, however, takes a little more effort — it’s inspired by the crock pot apple-cinnamon oatmeal I make occasionally. (And PS if you’re not making oatmeal this way … particularly steel-cut oatmeal, which is better for you anyway … you’re seriously missing out. One batch lasts me all week.)

  • I dice/chop/cut (depends on the laziness/awake level) 1/2 to 3/4 c apple (usually about a half of an apple, I eat the other half while cooking :3), and then saute it in a tiny smear of butter — about 1/4 T, if you want to get all measure-y. You just want enough to cook the apples in, you’re not frying these bad boys.
  • I let them cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then I dump 1/4 c instant oats, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp brown sugar in and let it cook up. Once the apples are cooked but still al dente, I let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes, then mix up with about a cup of Greek yogurt. It’s like apple pie but not terrible for you 😉

Hope everyone reading is having a great week. For the first time in as long as I can remember, fiance and I are “meh” on the Superbowl, and so instead we’re going to see the Thunderbirds play hockey tomorrow night, and then planning to enjoy the predicted beautiful weather on Sunday and go golfing. I may have also bought Lego Lord of the Rings as a surprise, so that may also happen 😉

Currently loving: Some new favorite recipes! This baked artichoke chicken, winner of a contest on The Chew; this spinach/corn/black bean enchilada recipe, full disclosure: I used canned sauce;  this Chipotle Spinach Dip recipe from the NYTimes, which is a “throw it in the food processor and hit ‘on'” recipe … incredible results.

 

For me, the best gifts are the most practical January 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lexd @ 8:29 pm

Everything the title of this post says, says it all. Last night was officially the last day of my birthday spree (starting last Wednesday on my ACTUAL birthday), and every gift I got is incredibly practical — they either immediately positively impacted my life for the better, or are in the process of doing so. For that reason, I am more excited about gifts this year than I am at most gifty times of year (where sometimes it ends up being “I’m super grateful, but where am I going to put this XYZ?”). This year’s haul:

  • Clarisonic Mia (I USED IT THIS MORNING AND IT WAS AN AMAZING, FOAMY CLEANSING EXPERIENCE. Seriously, my dad is 53, uses one and has better skin than I did at the age of 5)
  • This top, so cozy, and this headband (in coral! I die) from Lucy
  • Amazon gift cards
  • Flowers (it can be argued these aren’t practical. For me, they are. They brighten up my living space and have a shelf life)
  • Super sexy muffin tin from Sur La Table … with which I’ve already made these and plan to make these as soon as I get some cartoned egg whites, I hate wasting yolks and you can only make so much key lime pie or lemon curd with extra yolks
  • Sexy chocolate, chocolate-covered straberries, chocolate/almond pastry from Le Panier
  • Bottle of wine
  • Seafood feast (this is not an overstatement. At-home feast of Dungeness crab, peel-and-eat shrimp, clams, handmade andouille sausage, with crunchy bread and a salad. And the aforementioned wine …)

Beyond the stuff I scored, 28 was a pretty phenomenal birthday. Also I got a card from my coworkers with a lot of nice words and a singing mustache, so there’s also that 😉 Hope the last couple weeks have been fun for all.

Currently loving: Please see the birthday list above, there’s a ton I love there! Also, this album, which can be found on Spotify, has been mixed with the Tron soundtrack for a pretty stellar desk-job workday music experience.

 

Shopping for quality January 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lexd @ 10:10 pm

Until about 2010, I lived and died by Old Navy clothing. They made cute, affordable clothes that fit right (most of the time), and until about 2009-2010, they were pretty good quality items, too. Then something happened and their sizing was no longer legitimate or consistent and the quality and fit of the clothes tanked. (This is all my experience.) Despite this switch in experience, I stubbornly continued to shop there. For some reason I’d branded Gap, J.Crew, Nordstrom, Express, Ann Taylor — pretty much every store that targets my demographic in some form — as “too expensive” and instead stuck to Target (which had JUST introduced the Isaac Mizrahi line, which was often “too expensive”) and Old Navy, feeling awesome about “deals” I scored.

I assumed it was unrelated at the time, but I frequently had “clothing tantrums” where I would stomp around, throwing clothes (literally), because I wasn’t happy with the way anything looked on me. I had a closet of deals, but they weren’t really “deals” because I never got any use out of them … I spent money on something I never benefited from, or that didn’t make me happy.

About the time I moved back to Washington and managed to drop a lot of weight, I went through my wardrobe with my sister and mom and they axed about 75% of it. Lack of fit was exacerbated by the weight loss, but even some of the styles of clothing I was wearing wasn’t flatting for my figure — usually I’d bought it because it was on sale (“hey I need a cardigan and this one is $13, all cardigans are the same, right?” NO).

I promised myself that as I rebuilt my sad, fracture wardrobe, I would stick by the following rules, all of which can/should be followed by “no matter the price”:

  • Try. On. EVERYTHING. (Or only order online if there’s free returns.) 
  • If I’m not instantly thrilled when I look in the dressing room mirror, it’s a no.
  • If I have to try it on twice, I don’t buy it immediately — I put it on hold. If I can’t stop thinking about it while I’m doing the rest of my shopping/something else, it’s a yes.
  • If I can’t think of at least 2 outfits I can create with my existing closet plus the piece item in question, it’s a no.
  • Machine wash? (I HATE HANDWASHING)
  • And finally, is it good quality? I’m learning more and more about specific things to look for (how tight are the buttons sewn on? Is the zipper strong? How is the stitching in the seams? How is the texture of the lining?)

This last one is the big one, and leads to the inevitable question of cost. While it’s not always the case, I’m starting to respect the cost/quality argument. This was most prevalent in the world of denim for me: Old Navy jeans stretch out in about 30 minutes, and I wound up having to wash mine after each wear (waste of resources, not good for the fabric, etc.) So, with this lesson in mind I went out on a limb and bought a pair of Dylan George skinny jeans and a pair of AG boot cut jeans. This combined purchase was one of the most expensive ones I’ve made on clothing, EVER. Having worn both pairs of jeans religiously for more than a year, I regret it not one bit. I can wear both pairs repeatedly without washing, and neither has stretched out, ripped, worn, etc. I can pull them out of the closet and throw them on because I know what they’ll look like — the same as the last time I wore them. I need less pairs of jeans because I don’t need to keep so many in rotation.

I’ve been reassured by this, and have branched out a little bit. I finally committed to a couple of nice purses (one as a work/laptop tote and another as a mid-size handbag). I started investing in my skin and haircare … thanks to Sephora’s amazing selection of trials, I’m able to see what makes a difference, and what doesn’t, before dropping a load of cash. I’m still learning (and holding out on a pair of black riding boots), but I’m starting to see the real value of investing in something quality.

All of the above said, I still comb H&M and (when I’m brave) Forever 21 like it’s my job for basics, trendy pieces and accessories like scarves and fashion jewelry. I’m no fashion snob by any means, but given my personal style (classic, pearls, basically J.Crew without the scary pattern mixing), this has proven to be an effective strategy for me to build a wardrobe I’m happy with, and lessen (not quite eliminate …) clothing tantrums. Still on the hunt for: Long-sleeve white button down (I am near-impossible to fit off the rack), khaki/camel-colored dress pants, blouses for work (I’m horrendously picky), denim jacket, office/professional rain jacket. Ugh, and a swimsuit.

Currently loving: 

 

Booze? What booze? January 9, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lexd @ 11:39 pm

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not — I’ve only told a couple of people — but fiance and I are living the dry lifestyle right now for a pretty wide variety of reasons, including:

  • Kickstart wedding weight loss!
  • Detox after holidays (which I apparently needed, it took 5 days of not drinking to feel normal)
  • Save money
  • Family/personal history of alcohol reliance for both of us

Even during the Seahawks crazy victory against the Redskins on Sunday, we were sober in solidarity. If you don’t drink a lot, this may sound pretty simple, but alcohol has been a very prevalent part of our lives since we met (VERY prevalent, a dry weekend was incredibly rare and only happened 1x/6 months or so). I don’t mean to imply I/we abused alcohol, but it became such a part of our routine that I began to feel uncomfortable.

Like I said, it took about five days to feel normal and I don’t know if I’m fighting something or just reacting to stress at work, but I was ready for bed at 9 pm last night.

I might write another post about resolutions later (I rarely decide on goals for the year until the end of January), but this is a huge scary step. It’s not that we’re never drinking again, but it’s more (for me) about taking control of a destructive habit and being able to experience something in a way that is productive and enjoyable, instead of drinking a glass (or 2) of wine every night just because. The goal (for me) is that instead of defaulting to the 1-2 glasses of wine or splitting a 6-pack with the fiance, I’ll make an active choice to engage in that activity.

There will be obvious exceptions … we love to drink, and learn and talk about alcohol. The Washington Beer Lover’s Association events are things that we love to go to (BelgianFest in February!), and a long afternoon wine tasting with friends at the wineries in Woodinville is a phenomenal way to spend a day. But, I’m moving toward a more thoughtful and intentional participation in these activities.

ONWARD

Currently loving: MyFitnessPal (you have to make the decision to be honest with yourself, but it’s fantastic for keeping track of calories and workouts, no excuses for “I don’t know why I’m not losing weight.” If you’re on there and you want a friend, look me up! adowney23), this gif of a baby panda, and this wedding dress (I don’t know if I could pull it off but WANT. Full site for this dress/collection)